Students at Woodstock Academy protest budget layoffs - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Students at Woodstock Academy protest budget layoffs

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More than 100 students at Woodstock Academy stood up for a beloved administrator whom the school is planning to lay off due to budgetary reasons.

School officials said it just doesn't have the money to keep things the same, but students said their $40,000 per year tuition should be enough to keep Assistant to the Dean Joseph Martineau. 

On Thursday afternoon, dozens of students held a protest to save Martineau's job.

"We have counselors, we have the social worker, but Mr. Martineau seems to want to know more than just what's wrong," said Woodstock Academy student Tony Bonano. "He wants to know who we are."

Headmaster of Woodstock Academy Kim Caron is faced with making difficult decisions at the school.

"Basically, we are preparing ourselves to be a smaller school," he said. "As a result of lower student enrollment, it means we need fewer people to do our work."

About 1,200 students are enrolled at Woodstock Academy. On average, boarding students said they pay $40,000 a year while day students shell out about $12,000.

Woodstock Academy does get some funding from the town, but Caron said when enrollment drops, which it has over last five years, these types of cuts are inevitable.

"If you lose 10 students, that's a loss in revenue," he said.

Students at Woodstock Academy have learned persistence. They're forging on, taking the fight to the web, hoping to get 500 signatures on this online petition to save Martineau's job.

"What better way to say goodbye than having 130 people show up, saying we want him to stay," said student John Colburn III.

Caron said there's no way around the decision to lay off Martineau.

"It's a decision that will unfortunately remain, and there will be more," he said.

The students will be punished for this sit-in. They'll get two hours of detention for each class they missed, so many will be facing eight hours of detention in the days to come.

To sign the petition, click the following link.

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